Contamination of spinach at germination: A route to persistence and environmental reintroduction by Salmonella

Govindaraj Dev Kumar, Jitendra Patel, Sadhana Ravishankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The effects of using contaminated seed and water on the persistence and internalization of Salmonella Newport in organic spinach cultivars- Lazio, Space, Emilia and Waitiki were studied. Seeds were contaminated by either immersing in a suspension of Salmonella and then sprouted or were sprouted in Salmonella contaminated water in the dark at 25 °C. After 5 days, germinated sprouts were analyzed for S. Newport population and internalization. Germinated sprouts were potted in soil and grown in a plant incubator for 4 weeks. Leaves, stems and roots were sampled for Salmonella population by plating on CHROMagar™. Plants surface-sterilized with chlorine were analyzed for internalized pathogen. Potting soil and water runoff were sampled for Salmonella after 4 weeks of plant growth. Contaminated seeds and irrigation water had S. Newport populations of 7.64±0.43 log CFU/g and 7.12±0.04 log CFU/ml, respectively. Sprouts germinated using contaminated water or seeds had S. Newport populations of 8.09±0.04 and 8.08±0.03 log CFU/g, respectively and had a Salmonella population that was significantly higher than other spinach tissues (P<0.05). Populations of S. Newport in leaves, stem and roots of spinach plants were as follows: contaminated seed- 2.82±1.69, 1.69±0.86, and 4.41±0.62 log CFU/ml; contaminated water- 3.56±0.90, 3.04±0.31, and 4.03±0.42 log CFU/ml of macerated tissue suspension, respectively. Internalization was observed in plants developing from contaminated seeds and in sprouts germinated using contaminated water. S. Newport populations of 2.82±0.70 log CFU/g and 1.76±0.46 log CFU/ml were recovered from soil and water runoff, respectively. The results indicate that contamination of spinach during germination can result in persistence, internalization and environmental reintroduction of Salmonella.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108646
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Volume326
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2020

Keywords

  • Cross-contamination
  • Germination
  • Internalization
  • Salmonella
  • Spinach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology

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